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NRI NEWS - Canadian health System in Jeopardy

The topic has been hotly debated for weeks on Indian Radios and NRI News Papers

2 deaths of NRIs at Brampton Civic Hospital, spurred 5000 marchers
for Better Health Care

Brampton,Ontario, Dec. 09, 2007
Santokh Singh

After Harnek Sidhu's death, one more death of Amarjit Narwal, 42 was reported to Toronro Star by Narwal's cousin, Inderjit Nijjar. Inderjit told reporters that Narwal, who had suffered a stroke, was taken to emergency at

More than 5000 residents (mostly NRIs) , marched a one-kilometre route along Queen St. E, in the freezing weather from the Rose Theatre to the old Peel Memorial Hospital site -Click for bigger view


Brampton Civic by ambulance from Trillium Health Centre in Mississauga. Narwal was put on blood thinning medication, but slipped into a coma and died less than 24 hours after being admitted to Brampton Civic.

"He died because of the lack of doctors.....Full Story


NRI, 52 died, due to negligence of Canadian Hospital-
Is Canadian health system in danger of collapse?

Brampton,Ontario, Dec. 05, 2007
Sampuran Benet/ Dr. Santosh Kumari/Gary Singh, LA

In USA, there are over 31 million uninsured people but keep in mind if they go to hospital under any emergency, they are looked after immediately. Later on hospital can collect bills from them if they have. If person has no money, bills will be looked after by Govt.

Canadian doctors are on the verge of moving to the United States because, "an awful lot" of them are "totally frustrated" by red tape, waits for hospital beds, and paltry government-regulated pay increases. We conclude that this country's national health system is in danger of collapse.

NRI nurse, Sukhpal from Toronto said that "Canada's health care system ... is in real jeopardy." For years, she asserted, emergency rooms have been so overcrowded that patients frequently line the corridors awaiting treatment. Hospitals in Ontario, Alberta, Newfoundlan and other States squeezed by funding cuts, have eliminated beds while some facilities and are struggling to replace costly equipment that is either failing or outdated. There is great sense of frustration, fear and anger seems to have pervaded the health-care system. Most of the people may have access to health insurance, more of them are finding it difficult to get access to medical treatments.

The Canadian Govt. only concern about 'free' health care and the resulting cost escalation, they resort to capping total health spending. These caps in turn limit ability of providers to deliver medical services, resulting in shortages and waiting lists. It is estimated, there is a waiting list:

  • coronary artery bypass; 30 weeks, hand surgery, 16 weeks; colonoscopy, 9 weeks; hernia repair, 30 weeks; weeks; cataract removal, 18.2 weeks; open heart surgery, 24 weeks.......

August 22, 2007, on Wednesday’s "Good Morning America," anchor Chris Cuomo completely glossed over the health care implications of a Canadian mother giving birth to quadruplets in America and not her home country. According to Cuomo, Karen Jepp and her husband, the new parents of identical quadruplets, had to be flown 300 miles from Calgary to Montana on August 16, because "every neo-natal unit in their country was too crowded to handle four preemie births."

NRI Harnek Sidhu, 52 went to emergency with stomach pains at Brampton Civic Hospital just a week after it opened on Oct. 28. According to the sidhu family, it took 12 hours before he was assigned a bed and after 10 days he died of pancreatitis. They just don't have any staff there. Had we known any of this earlier, we would not have gone there. Sidhu family is consulting a lawyer on whether to proceed with a lawsuit.

The hospital was started with public-private partnership that built the $550 million facility. Last year in July, Brampton's large Punjabi community had raised nearly $4 million toward its $10 million goal of donations for this hospital following which the emergency department at the newly-opened BCH had been named after Guru Nanak Dev . Interestingly, Sidhu's family, which had also contributed $25,000 to this hospital

According to Local Paper Star, "Their main focus is not to help patients. They just want them in and out. ANIMALS TAKEN TO THE VET GET BETTER TREATMENT THAN THIS HOSPITAL" Mr. Sandeep Sidhu the son of the deceased said.

Health Minister George Smitherman declined to comment but CEO Robert Richards said:

  • He is dismayed by the family's angry stance and the furor that subsequently erupted in the local Punjabi media and Brampton Guardian, with other upset patients relating horror stories.
  • He blames "organized elements" for whipping up a P3 controversy with rumours and misinformation.
  • There are absolutely no linkages between who finances a hospital and what goes on within its walls. It's "absolute nonsense."
  • The big benefit is it gets hospitals up and running faster. It's never been a secret, the model under which this hospital was built.

Controversy over the public-private partnership that built the $550 million facility:

Now Brampton Civic Hospital has become a lightning rod for opposition to so-called P3 projects, following a death the local Punjabi community is blaming on understaffing. As Ontario's first "P3" hospital, Brampton Civic is the fruit of a deal between the province and a private consortium called The Healthcare Infrastructure Company of Canada, which built it and holds a 25-year contract to run parking, food services, portering, security, cleaning and similar services.

Natalie Mehra of the Ontario Health Coalition, which won a four-year court battle to get access to details of the deal said:

  • The previous Conservative government, has led to a healthcare "crisis" in Brampton. They're facing a huge funding crunch and service cuts.
  • The people of Brampton never asked to be guinea pigs in an experiment about privatizing hospitals. They were misled every step of the way about the nature of their new hospital and the amount of public control there would be.

Dr. Kuldip Kular, MPP, re-elected from Bramalea - Gore - Malton, now parliamentary health secretary, appeared on a Punjabi radio talk show recently to urge calm.

Kular admits he doesn't know the "nitty gritty details" of the deal, he said the Liberals took steps to ensure the hospital would be fully publicly owned after 25 years, unlike the deal the Tories signed: "It's just like having a house mortgaged."

Sampuran Benet, insurance business owner from Toronto reports that according to the local media, NRI Punjabi community is very up set a following a death of Mr. Sidhu.

He said, a Major Demonstration to be held on December 09, 2007




Click for bigger view

Photos by Jagdish Grewal, Punjabi Post , Toronto

More Photos by Kanwaljit Kanwal, Toronto